SECRETARY BLINKEN:  So good to see you, Secretary.

MODERATOR:  (Via interpreter) Likewise.  It is such a pleasure to welcome you today.  Good morning, Secretary Blinken.  Welcome to Mexico and mostly, welcome to the Secretariat of the Economy.

ECONOMY SECRETARY CLOUTHIER:  (Via interpreter) Good morning.  It is such a pleasure, Secretary Blinken, to see you not just in Mexico, but at the Secretariat of the Economy.  It is a pleasure for us to have this first meeting with you, and we are certain that this will be a great step so as to strengthen the relationship between Mexico and the United States.  It would have been great to have you visit us here, but we are certain that sooner than we expect we’ll be able to shake hands in person and give you the welcome you deserve.

We know that for the relationship between Mexico and the United States this is not just a relationship of friends, neighbors, and trade partners.  We share more than that.  We share a huge border, which has had us be united for such a long time.  We have had achievements between our two nations, not only speaking of trade in our trade relationship; we had over 538 million daily trade exchanges.

This is a very interesting figure, and please know that we are ready to work with our counterparts:  the future trade representative Gina Raimondo, the next secretary of trade, and Isabel Guzman, who will be in charge of SMEs.  Allow me to say that it is always a pleasure to work with the United States embassy in Mexico.  Our colleague and friend, John Creamer, with whom we meet every fortnight, we hold meetings to see how we will continue to work to continue to deepen this bond.  Thank you so very much, John, for this coordinated work.

Please allow me to say that President Lopez Obrador is extremely interested and is betting on this work through the USMCA trade relations, and the strengthening of the work between both nations is of the utmost importance.  He sees the USMCA as a big tool for recovery post-COVID, maybe during COVID, but I think we could start discussing the post-COVID era.

And allow me to discuss the outage of supply chains that have affected not just the world but also our countries as a result of COVID.  We know President Biden has requested a review in a term of 100 days in supply chains in the United States, specifically regarding chips and large-capacity batteries and pharmaceuticals and strategic minerals.  Mexico, we are sure, could be part of these large efforts so as to ensure that in North America, we can have the necessary supply for these type of goods.  They cannot be a problem.  We want to be suppliers of these goods.  We want to work hand-in-hand with you, your government, and the Government of Canada to strengthen the platform for trade in North America.

The pandemic has shown us that only if we work jointly – and here, I believe our colleague John Creamer is not going to let us lie – I believe when we work together, we can face challenges in an easier way, creating synergies so that things can progress.  We reiterate our willingness to work with your government hand-in-hand not just for Mexico to do better but for the three countries who have signed the USMCA.  We will all become stronger for the benefit of our peoples.

You have the floor, Secretary.  Many thanks to you.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Madam Secretary, thank you so much.  First, thank you for receiving our virtual delegation, and as you said, I wish we could be there in person.  But also, as you said, I think that day will come sooner rather than later, and I very much look forward to it and being able to work in close cooperation with you.  I think I share all of the sentiments you’ve already expressed, both the general perspective and even some of the substance that we started to get into regarding supply chains.

But I couldn’t agree more that we have already such a vital and vibrant economic relationship between our countries and one that is to the benefit of Mexicans and Americans alike.  And I think we have a common opportunity as well as responsibility to work to deepen and strengthen that.  And as you said, particularly as our countries emerge from COVID-19 and we’re embarked on a shared effort to, as President Biden says, build back better, we have real opportunities in the trade and economic space to do the same thing.

But having kicked things off, let me ask our colleagues from the press to have an opportunity to get some coffee somewhere – (laughter) – and then we can continue.  Thank you.


U.S. Department of State

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